shana leslie

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Planning Your Business Blog

Defining Your Blog

Why define your blog? It's the secret to effective business blogging. Want a blog that actively brings in new customers and increases sales? Keep reading.


How Blogs Boost Business

The most common business blogging mistake is to treat a blog as a running advertisement. Blogs attract new customers and increase sales in much more subtle, long-term ways.

A business blog with quality, unique, fresh content boosts search rankings, attracts and retains readers, and prompts social shares. A great business blog increases industry prestige and customer confidence. Your blog is a great place to show off your expertise. Give your readers valuable content they actually want to read and the sales will follow.

Once you let go of the "blog as advertisement space" mentality, you'll become your customer's "go-to" source for all things related to your industry. You'll gain and grow a following - a team of loyal customers who'll find new customers and sell your products for you. It doesn't happen overnight, but when you start to see results, you'll see they're impressive and potentially perpetual.


Your Blog's Audience

You have to know your readers to write content they'll love. Exactly who is your target audience? Are they male or female? Are they in their 20's or 50's? What are their hobbies? Their tastes? How much money do they make? How much education do they have?

Defining your target market is fundamental to any marketing effort. If you aren't already familiar with your business's ideal target, it's time to do a little research. What you learn during your market research will benefit your business in ways you can't even imagine.

Rule 1: Focus on the needs and desires of your customers, not your company.

Think about the needs, wants, and desires of your particular target market. Your blog should focus on topics that matter to them. A great example of a corporate blog is Kodak's blog, A Thousand Words. Instead of focusing on cameras, their blog focuses on photography.

Think about what you sell or what service you offer. What is your customer using it for? Sell pottery? Blog about gardening, outdoor entertaining, landscaping, and caring for houseplants. Maybe you're a carpet cleaner. Sure, you'll blog about stain removal but why stop there? Blog about maximizing a carpet's lifespan, or how about a "stain-free" dinner menu?

You customers don't need another advertisement. They need valuable information, novel tips and tricks, or a good laugh. Always think of your readers first before clicking "Post" and they learn to turn to you when they need what you're selling.


Your Blog's Tone & POV


Will your blog be casual and friendly, or professional and polished? Decide on a tone for your blog now and you'll maintain a consistency of style that's the hallmark of great blogging.

The most effective tone for you will largely depend on your type of business and your target market. A retail gift shop should keep it light and fun. An high-level CPA's blog will want to portray knowledge, erudition, and attention to detail. On the other hand, a small business bookkeeper may want to keep posts casual yet still educational.

Which point of view (POV) should you use? Most business bloggers tend to talk about "we" in their blogs, referring to their company. This is something of an industry standard for larger businesses.

Still, the personal pronouns "I" and "you" are two of the most powerful, personal pronouns in the English language. People want to feel as though a real-life, breathing, feeling person is on the other side of every blog post. They also want to feel as though the writer is speaking directly to them. If you're a small business owner, or if you'll have multiple people in your company writing for the blog, consider using "I" as well as "we".


Example Blog Posts

Take some time to brainstorm a list of possible blog post titles. Don't worry too much about making them catchy or perfect. The point of this exercise is to make you think about your readers' wants and needs.

Sell vintage jewelry? Here are just a few example blog posts off the top of my head:

 

  • "Cleaning & Storing Your Vintage Jewelry"
  • "Old & New: Pairing Vintage Jewelry with Modern Style"
  • "Echoes of Victorian England: The Cameo"
  • "Famous Jewels in History & Myth"
  • "Which Era Are You: A Vintage Style Quiz"

Get the idea?

 


Next up, you'll work on your business blog's editor's schedule. How often will you post? What about backup content? Who will do the writing and the editing?


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Check out a few of today's most popular corporate blogs:

Arrow--RightBigelow Tea Blog
Arrow--RightCoca-Cola Conversations
Arrow--RightNuts About Southwest
Arrow--RightStarbucks Blog
Arrow--RightStonyfield Farm's Blog
Arrow--RightDisney's Parks Blog
Arrow--RightKodak's A Thousand Words








Help with Market Research

How to Narrow Your Target Market by Tim Donnelly on Inc.

Inc. Guide: How to Do Market Research

Tools Used in Market Research







Arrow--Right Back: Introduction Next: Your Editor's Schedule Arrow--Right




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